Charleston, South Carolina, has become one of the top travel destinations in the entire country, winning multiple awards like Travel + Leisure's #1 U.S. City and Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Destination in the World. And, it’s no question why this small Southern city has gained so much attention. Between the world-class food scene, impressive nightlife, rich history, and beautiful landscape, Charleston is an incredible place to visit for a romantic getaway or a trip with the entire family. We've pulled together a list of our favorite things to do in Charleston to help you narrow down your sure-to-be long list of activities you want to do.
As you begin researching your trip to the Holy City, don’t forget to request your copy of our complimentary Travel Guide. This planner is essential for any travelers looking to find the best local suggestions on where to dine, relax, and play.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Charleston
Explore the Restaurants and Bars
For anyone with a love of great food, Charleston is hands-down one of the best destinations. From classic Southern cuisine and freshly caught seafood to authentic Cuban and Vietnamese options, this city takes food seriously. Charlestonians treat brunch like an art form. Visitors have an abundant number of options including places like One Broad, housed in the old State Bank, and The Obstinate Daughter, a nautically themed upscale restaurant on Sullivan’s Island. For a big night out, check out one of the city’s steakhouses—Hall’s Chophouse or Oak Steakhouse. If you’re looking for a casual dining experience, you’ll find plenty of opportunities including Butcher & Bee, Tattooed Moose, Five Loaves, Basic Kitchen, and Baker and Brewer.
Head to the Beach
Spending a day in the sun is one of the best things to do in Charleston. Though the downtown area is surrounded by water, there’s actually no beach on the peninsula. Luckily, there are three other gorgeous beaches all within 25 minutes of the city area. Head to James Island to spend a day on Folly Beach. This area has a bohemian vibe with local haunts like Jack of Cups Saloon featuring a red curry mac and cheese or the funky taco shack Chico Feo. For a more upscale selection of restaurants, you can visit Sullivan’s Island and find a sunny spot near the famous lighthouse. Traveling a bit further in the town of Mount Pleasant, you’ll find Isle of Palms beach, the location of the iconic Windjammer bar, which features volleyball courts and regular live music.
Discover Charleston’s Rich History
One of the original 13 colonies, South Carolina is flush with history, particularly the city of Charleston, which was the location where the first shots of the Civil War rang out over the Atlantic Ocean. Explore the historic homes in the downtown area or take a ferry out to Fort Sumter to learn more about our nation’s history. You can also climb aboard the U.S.S Yorktown, a retired airforce carrier that is now home to a fleet of historic planes.
Stay Near All the Best Things to Do Charleston
When coming to the Holy City, you’ll want to make the most of your time by staying somewhere close to all of the best things to do in Charleston. At Hotel Bella Grace, you’ll be within walking distance of some of the top bars and restaurants in Charleston as well as the beautiful Marion Square and King Street shopping district. If you’re planning a romantic getaway with your significant other, reserve the Penthouse Suite, which features its own private balcony, a luxurious king-size bed and kitchen area.